June 1, 2013 – SAT Essay Prompts

Below are essay prompts from the most recent SAT administration in June 2013.

Prompt 1

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.

Our cherished notions of what is equal and what is fair frequently conflict. Democracy presumes that we are all created equal; competition proves we are not, or else every contest would end in a tie. We talk about a level playing field, but it is difficult to make conditions equal for everyone without being unfair to some.

Adapted from Nancy Gibbs, “Cool Running”

Assignment: Is it possible for a society to be fair to everyone? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

Prompt 2

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.

Many colleges now offer courses in which students study television programs, comic books, magazines, advertising, and other aspects of popular culture. Critics complain that schools should not replace serious literature and history courses with such fluff. They claim that courses in popular culture present material that is trivial and inconsequential. But the study of popular culture can be just as important, demanding, and instructive as the study of traditional subjects.

Assignment: Can the study of popular culture be as valuable as the study of traditional literary and historical subjects? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

Prompt 3

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.

Many voters think that integrity and character are the most important qualifications for political office. I disagree. Integrity—the quality of standing up for the same values in every situation—is not a good qualification for getting people to work together. Strongly held morals may make a candidate too inflexible and incapable of negotiation. And if character were really so important, candidates would be judged by their personal relationships rather than by their ability to deal with a community’s or a nation’s problems.

Adapted from Stanley Fish, “Integrity or Craft: The Leadership Question”

Assignment: Is strong moral character the most important qualification for a leader? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

Prompt 4

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.

Thanks to the Internet, people have more access to more information than at any other time in history. People can instantly find information on almost any topic in the time it takes to type a couple of words and click a mouse. But we often know so little about the source of this information, including its reliability and the qualifications of the person who wrote it. If we do not know its source, information is not much good to us.

Assignment: Do people need to know the source of any information before they use it? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.